This is a very scarce English double barrel 12 gauge shotgun that was retailed by Titus L. Bissell Hardware of Charleston, South Carolina during or just prior to the Civil War. During the early years of the Civil War, not having sufficient supplies of muskets available, many Confederates went to off to war armed with double barrel shotguns. Although quite scarce, when we find one with a Southern retailer's name, it stands a pretty good chance that it saw service with the Confederacy. Bissell's store was located at 155 Meeting Street in Charleston across from the Charleston Hotel. He specialized in imported English, German, as well as American hardware. In addition, an original ad shows that he imported and marketed shotguns made by Westley Richards, William Green, William Ellis, and others. He also sold American-made rifles made by Sharps, Tryon, Golcher, et al. Interestingly, we had a shotgun last year that was sold retailed by H.F. Strohecker Hardware of Charleston, SC. Strohecker's store was located at 151 Meeting Street...just two doors down from Bissell's store at 155. See link:
This Bissell Double Barrel is a higher grade shotgun than most. For starters, it has a patchbox, quality English banknote style engraving, but what makes it special is that it is completely mounted with hardware made out of German silver that has been nicely engraved. This includes, the buttplate, patchbox housing, barrel key escutcheons, forearm cap, name plate, and an incredible trigger guard which measures over a foot in length. The one piece stock is made of fine English walnut and checkered at the wrist. This is not your average shotgun. Barrels measure 31-1/2" with a double hook breech that is secured by a single key located on the forearm.
This gun is a fresh attic find. As pleasing as that sounds, reality is that it's over 150 years old and currently in "project" condition. The good news here is that it is untouched and has not been damaged by an amateur. It's a good solid example and has a great deal of potential should it be put in the hands of a good gunsmith, preferably one who specializes in antiques. For a list of what it needs, give me a call and I'll be more than happy to provide you with a list. Fixed and cleaned up, a high-grade double barrel with a Charleston dealer's name on the barrel should easily bring $3,500. Right now, I don't have time for repairs but if it doesn't sell in a month or two, we'll have it fixed when things slow down in the spring and re-price it for much more later in the year. Currently, we're pricing it with for far less to allow room for repairs and what should be a very healthy profit margin for a dealer or collector who's looking for a bargain investment. This is a great opportunity to pick up a rare D/B Shotgun sold by a southern agent, and a Charleston one to boot!